05/05/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – Last week, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended that India be designated a Country of Particular Concern by the State Department for the first time. Government leaders in India were quick to reject this recommendation and condemned USCIRF’s report on India.
In its annual report, USCIRF recommended India be designated a Country of Particular Concern. The commission cited the Citizenship Amendment Act, which fast-tracks Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees fleeing persecution, and “nationwide campaigns of violence against religious minorities” as reasons for its recommendation.
“We reject the observations on India in the USCIRF Annual Report,” External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told the Hindustan Times. “[USCIRF’s] biased and tendentious comments against India are not new.”
“But on this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels,” Srivastava continued. “We regard [USCIRF] as an organization of particular concern and will treat it accordingly.”
If USCIRF’s recommendation on India is accepted by the State Department, India will be added to a list of countries where systematic and egregious violations of religious freedom have been officially documented and recognized. This would open India to a list of potential sanctions attached with being designated a Country of Particular Concern.
In recent years, attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India have increased in both number and severity. Much of this growing violence comes from the promotion and normalization of Hindu nationalism by India’s current BJP-led government.
In 2014, the year the BJP took power in India, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) documented 144 violent attacks on India’s Christian community. In 2019, after five years of BJP rule, the number of attacks documented by EFI has increased 366.
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